How Do It Do That?

We bought a new car today, which is quite an event in our household when you consider the average age of all our other cars is 19 years old.  This new car is bringing the average age down to fifteen years old.  More importantly we bought a car that get’s 47 miles to the gallon and can carry 4 tall people and a little bit of stuff.

I am anti-stuff and related to a couple of really tall people so it is just perfect.

But you know the part I like the best is the 47 miles per gallon.  Today we drove it out to Apex and when we got in the car it told me that we could go 330 miles on the amount of gas we had.  We drove about 50 miles and when we got home the car told me we could go 358 miles on the amount of gas we had.  I swear to the good lord above we did not stop and put a drop of gas in it.  Apparently driving it charged it up and not only got us there and back on nothing, but gave us some more energy.

Will wonders never cease?  I think about my paternal grandfather who kept a number of spiral bound notebooks as logs to track how much life he got out of everything he owned that had a battery.   When I was a teenager I would peruse these logs on his desk while I used the phone.  “Tractor log, Sunday 8/15/76- 14 minutes.  Monday 8/16/76 – 1 hour 23 minutes…  Flash Light log, Wednesday 8/12/76 3 minutes…” What in the world, I would think.

This car would really throw my grandfather off; then again it is already acting as it’s own log.  I could see him now, driving around even if he did not need to just so he could make more energy.

I think that there are some foods that are like this for our bodies.  Take celery.  Apparently it is so low in calories and takes so many calories to digest it that, by eating it you are losing weight.

I would love it if all the engineers who have figured out how to make car power from pressing on the brake (Don’t ask me, it is too complicated to explain.) would turn their attention to creating more foods that use up more calories by being eaten than are in them to begin with.

I’m keeping my own log to see if I can get more than 47 miles to the gallon.  I figure if I weigh a little less it will be easier for the car to carry me around, but given this whole newfangled world I could be wrong.  I don’t know how it does it, but I’m glad it does.

My Diet History

I was a kid when I got hooked on Sweet ‘n Low in my iced tea.  It has to be because I thought I needed to lose weight and not because I really loved that chemical taste.  At boarding school I tried any number of crazy ways to lose weight.  I can remember laughing with my friends over the book Dieter’s Guide to Weight Loss During Sex, which was perfectly safe for us since we were at an all-girls school.  We lamented that if only there were boys we could use up a lot more calories based on the books predictions.


In my twenties I went to Dr. Greene in Washington DC who had invented a liquid protein diet.  I got my skinniest drinking three foul tasting shakes a day and a cup of chicken broth at the same time as Oprah was doing Optifast.  When she came out on TV in her skinny Calvin Klein Jeans pulling that wagon of fat everyone asked me if that was what I had done.


Both Oprah and I had similar spectacular results and the same rebounding weight gain as soon as we both ate regular food again.  Dramatically limiting my caloric intake for five months really made my metabolism learn how to live efficiently on practically nothing.  As soon as I introduced pasta back in my life, even with just straight tomatoes as sauce my body reacted like it had entered nirvana and was never going to leave.  It grabbed weight back on as fast as possible fearing that I might enter that famine period again.


About ten years ago I became a Weight Watchers professional.  I lost the most weight I ever have before, basically because I was the fattest I had ever been.  I learned every point value of every food and could really maximize the system so I could eat as much as possible for the fewest points.  The one thing about Weight Watchers is that as a company they make money on selling you pre-packaged, processed food and in the end that was not very satisfying to my body.


So here I am again.  The good news is that I decided to lose weight well before I passed my previous high.  I still have all the Weight Watcher’s knowledge, as well as every other plan I have tried, so I have synthesized it together and found my new way is the easiest way to live.


I cut out almost all sugar and most flour.  I eat primarily fruits, vegetable, meats, eggs, cheese, milk and a little whole grain.  I don’t count, measure or weigh anything, but I try and use small plates and bowls and only have one serving.  I am mindful of my eating, but I don’t write down anything I eat unless I am writing a recipe.  I don’t eat after 8:00 most days.  I drink a lot of tea and water.  I go to my trainer to work out twice a week. Most importantly I write for just 20 minutes everyday on the blog and I try and laugh a lot.


Other than the writing the blog, I don’t think about eating as much as I ever did on or off a diet.  I am so much more concerned about what I am going to write than what I am going to eat that I spend my day listening to and watching people waiting to find some inspiration for the blog.


Don’t get me wrong, Food is still important to me.  I got up early on this Saturday morning and went to my church kitchen to cook for the lunch we will serve tomorrow.  I still want to make yummy things that make people happy.  I am just as happy to make them for others and not for myself.


Maybe it took me all my 51 years of trying every kind of diet to finally invent one for myself that could just be my way of eating and not a diet.  Only time will tell.

Let’s Change the Situation

One day when my daughter Carter was three, my husband had this conversation with our daughter.


“Carter, what would you like for breakfast?”


“Chips,” Carter replied.


Her daddy looked at her and in that I-want-a-different-answer parent voice said, “Carter, Chips are for lunch.”


Not picking up on his cue, Carter responds, “Well, I’ll have lunch then.”


Sometimes you just have to change the situation to fit the answer you want.


Last night I went to a wonderful event thrown by the Chef’s Academy to benefit the Food Bank.  It was a restaurant chef competition where four chef’s each made a dish and people paid for votes.


Jayson Boyers, the regional president of the Chef’s Academy and fellow Food Bank board member had a goal of raising enough money at the event to donate 100,000 meals to the Food Bank.


After hundreds of people enjoyed lots of good food, none of it being chips, and voted for their favorite dish, the money was totaled.  Jayson was not happy.  He was $5,000 away from his goal.  So what did Jayson do but change the situation.


As he came to the podium with a glum look on his face he apologized for the delay in announcing the winning chef.  Jayson told the giant crowd that he needed $5,000 more to reach his goal and that he himself would donate another $1,000 if he could get anyone else to contribute the remaining $4,000.


Quickly a number of people raised their hands and called out, “I’ll give you a thousand.”  “Me too.”  “I’ll give $2,000.”  The goal was reached — 100,000 meals for hungry neighbors.


Sometimes the answer is so simple even a three year old knows how to do it, when you want something you ask for it.  When you don’t get what you want on the first asking you ask for it a different way, but just keep asking.


So I will ask one more time.  I am trying to get pledges to the Food Bank of $1,000 for every pound I can lose by November 1.  Today I am at $627.75.  My goal is to try and raise $50,000.  If only I could lose 100 pounds I would exceed my goal, but right now I am on track to lose 50.


I could change my situation, but I think that no one would pay for me to cut off my arm in order to lose more weight.  I know so many of you have made generous pledges and thank you.  If you have not pledged please consider doing so, not for me, but for your hungry neighbors.  If you think you have pledged check the supporters tab and look for your name.  If you want to be included among the angels listed there click on the pledge tab.


I am changing my situation my losing weight, you can change the situation of many people by pledging today.

Roast Brussels Sprouts, Butternut Squash and Pecans


Exactly as advertised.  Nothing but these three ingredients and my ever-present Pam.  So good and fallish.


1 butternut squash – peeled, seeded and cubed

2 pints Brussels sprouts cut in half

1/3 cup pecans


Salt and Pepper


Pre heat the oven to 400º-convection — If you don’t have a convection oven heat oven to 425º.  Cover a cookie with foil and spray with Pam.

Spread out butternut squash out on foil in one layer and place in oven for about 25-30 mins.  The squash should start to get a little brown and will be fork tender.


Cover another cookie sheet with foil and spray with Pam and lay out the Brussels sprout halves on it.  Place in oven and roast about 20 minutes until the cut sides get a little brown.


Toast pecans in a fry pan on stove for 2 minutes, stirring.  Once toasted chop them in half.


Mix everything together once cooked and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

When you Eat, Move as Little as Possible

My first job out of college was selling mail opening and extracting machines.  Since it was not an item that the average person wanted I had a rather large territory, Delaware to North Carolina to cover, selling to major companies and banks.  This all meant I spent a lot of time in my car.  I think I knew every exit of I-95 and where all the pay phones were to give you a time period reference.


Spending so much time trying to get between one customer is Washington DC and another in Wilmington Delaware on the same day meant that I ended up eating a lot of meals in my car.  You really can’t call eating something from a drive through while going 65 miles per hour between two big trucks a meal.


Years later when I was a consultant for BT in the UK I was often on the train traveling from London to Bristol, or Manchester, Doncaster or Warrenton or any of the other lovely British cities I frequented, eating my breakfast in the restaurant car, which was still a car.  Although I was not doing the driving, I was usually working while I ate, especially if I was traveling alone.


All that mindless eating in cars was no way to be healthy.  First the food available to drivers should be limited to football playing fourteen-year-old boys who just can’t seem to consume enough calories no matter what.  The rest of us, and that really is most of the world, should just skip anything that is available to be passed out of a window.


The second thing is driving an actual car should take most of the brainpower we have.  Not that driving itself is so difficult, but watching for out for idiot drivers is a full time job.  If you are trying to dip some fries into a small container of ketchup while going 35 miles per hour in a 25 you quickly become one of those idiots you are supposed to be on the look out for.


The third thing about eating in your car is you are sure to spill something on yourself.  I know that the invention of straws has helped keep liquids in your cup or in your mouth, but I personally don’t drink hot drinks with straws, something about scalding the roof of my mouth I shy away from.  The telltale sign that someone was eating in their car is they have a stain on the upper thigh of their pants.  Women who have a stain on their breast area might not have spilled in the car, but it is a possibility.


Add all these things to the fact that eating as your secondary activity does not seem to register in your brain and thus your hunger department never gets the memo you have eaten, I made a rule for myself that I will not eat in the car.  I made this “rule” about nine years ago and for the most part have tried to follow it.  Granted I no longer have a traveling job and don’t commute anywhere, but I do feel like I became more conscious of my food when it really became a meal.


Now if I could just give up watching TV while I eat.  My worry is that if I stop in the middle of a show I really love I will just eat more quickly so I can find out who is not getting a rose.  None-the-less, I think sitting still is the best way to eat.

My Least Favorite Word

Many people have words they do not like.  I know many mothers who forbid their children to use the word “stupid.”   “Shut up” is another popular non-favorite with the pre-school crowd.  “Suck” probably tops the list for middle school mothers.


My least favorite words is “Plateau” as in “a state of little or no change following a period of activity of progress.”  Yeah, plateaus really suck.


I am in a stupid plateau and have been for the last three weeks.  It is normal for me to lose weight at a fairly good clip and then just skid to a halt.  I know this to be my normal, but come-on, shut up; I would like to reap some benefits from my hard work.


I am trying hard not to use all the bad words when I get on the scale in the morning and it is basically the same thing everyday.  I know this too shall change and that I have to keep at it.  I know that my body has caught on to the fact that I am not giving it as many calories to live on and it has said, “Whoa. We are going to go into that caveman, non-starvation mode and learn to live on what you are eating so as not to die.”


See I am one of those humans who should have been alive 500 years ago when the food supply was not so constant.  My body is brilliant at holding onto fat for just that time of year when food was scarce.  You naturally skinny people who need to eat constantly just to keep going, you would have never made it through one drought season, let alone a little old famine.


So if I seem a little more grouchy than usual it must mean that I am still stuck on this darn plateau.  But I know from experience that eventually I will walk off a cliff and drop a few more pounds.  If it doesn’t happen soon you might have to bleep out my whole blog.

What We Need is a Hormonal Traffic Signal

One night when my daughter was about night years old I heard her crying in her bed.  I quickly opened her bedroom door to see what was wrong and there I found her sitting up in bed sobbing uncontrollably.  “I don’t know whats wrong.  I just can’t stop crying,” she squeaked out.


Unfortunately I knew it was the beginning of the girl up and downs.  I looked her square in the face and said, “Oh honey, its just hormones.”


With the wisdom of a much older woman she asked between sobs, “Why do hormones always win?”  It was one of the greatest truths ever uttered and it came from a child who was yet to really understand how powerful those hormones really are.


I am in no way as astute when it comes to hormonal cycles as either my daughter, or my husband.  One of my husband’s best traits is being able to track with NASA quality preciseness when a hormonal swing is about to take place.  When I am beginning to act insane somehow even after all these decades of having hormones I do not immediately know the cause for my insanity, but my husband does.


It would be so helpful to me if he would just go ahead and erect a hormonal signal that would clue me in.  Green would mean all clear, Yellow would mean insanity was on it’s way and Red would give me a warning that my full on B%tch is here.


My daughter is still better than I am at reading the signals.  One day I got a tragic text from her about something that had gone terribly wrong at school that morning.  That triggered my hormonal reaction and worry.  By the time I got to school for afternoon pick-up I was a mess waiting for her.  As she got in the car I asked her if everything was all right and she said without a care in the world, “Oh yeah Mom, no problem.  It was just hormones.”  Disaster adverted, but just for her, my maternal hormonal reaction had yet to clear.


Not only do I want a traffic signal, but maybe even an indicator light right in the middle of every woman’s forehead, that way I would know if it was a good time to ask someone a huge favor, or perhaps I should just give her a piece of chocolate and wait for a green light day.


For me I would like the light system so when I want to eat something more than my “I’m being really good food” I could weigh whether I was really hungry or just hormonal.  Currently I figure out the hormonal part only after I have eaten something forbidden, which is just too late.


For now, I just feel sorry for my husband who lives with two women on opposite ends of the hormonal teeter-totter.  I don’t know how he does it, but thank God he does because otherwise I might never know what is going on with me.